A KEEN cyclist who died in hospital three weeks after falling from his mountain bike had been drinking on the afternoon of his accident, an inquest heard.

Wimborne resident Kelvin Evans, 62, had two lagers and six or seven whiskies before setting out for a ride without a helmet, his brother-in-law said.

The retired IT manager initially made a good recovery from an operation to stop bleeding in his brain, but later died from another severe haemorrhage.

Witness Gail Hepworth told Bournemouth Coroners Court how she and her husband were passing Mr Evans on the Ringwood Road, towards Bear Cross roundabout, Sunday June 6 when he seemed to lose balance. Another driver reported seeing Mr Evans “spread-eagle” from his yellow and black bike at around 4.30pm.

Mrs Hepworth said: “He was going at a nice speed and you could tell he was a professional cyclist who knew what he was doing.

“He turned to spit in the road, and I said to my husband, ‘Let’s give him a wide berth’, and we moved into the outside lane. He shook on the bike and then he was flying through the air, really hard onto the road.”

They pulled over to help Mr Evans, who was unconscious and bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears, before calling 999, she said.

Surgeons at Southampton General Hospital removed a blood clot. Two days later Mr Evans was breathing properly and moved to Poole Hospital, but returned to Southampton for more surgery, antibiotics and brain drains before his death on June 29.

Brother-in-law Patrick Francis said he had been at Mr Evans’ home in Leigh Road until 3.15pm.

“We’d tried to do the crossword together,” he said. “He would have been over the limit for driving but I had never seen him drunk in my life. He was completely normal when I left.”

Recording a death of a brain injury from an unintended road accident, Coroner Sheriff Payne said there was no way of measuring Mr Evans’ alcohol levels.

“What is clear is that Mr Evans did have a fair bit of alcohol on board and so may not have been as capable,” he said. “He was probably not legal for driving, and cycling possibly requires even more attention.”